Rotator Cuff Tear Overview
The rotator cuff is the name for the four muscle-tendon units that surround and help control the shoulder joint throughout its range of motion. A rotator cuff injury is the most common shoulder affliction found in patients living in the Dallas, Frisco and Fort Worth, Texas communities. People with rotator cuff conditions often have pain with many common activities such as reaching and lifting. Two common injuries to this structure, rotator cuff tears and tendinitis can interfere with sleep and become very frustrating. The shoulder specialists at Texas Sports Medicine specialize in rotator cuff injuries and are available to help return patients to the sporting activities they love following an injury.
What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The rotator cuff surrounds the shoulder joint, much like a cuff on a shirt sleeve, and allows the joint to rotate outward, upward and inward. One or more of the muscle-tendon units that compose the structure can become injured from a fall, sports injury or degeneration from the body aging. In the majority of cases, a rotator cuff tear involves the supraspinatus tendon and muscle, but any muscle-tendon unit can experience damage.
When a tendon becomes torn, there is a separation or “tearing” of the tendon from the humerus head. A rotator cuff tear is classified by shoulder specialists as either a partial or a full-thickness (complete) tear.
- Partial tear- The tendon experiences damage but does not completely sever
- Full-thickness tear- The tendon is torn completely off the attachment site at the bone
Rotator cuff injuries, both a tear and tendonitis, are caused by an acute traumatic injury or degeneration from the natural aging process or continued overuse of the shoulder joint. Two common acute injuries include falling on the shoulder joint or lifting an object too heavy.
Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms
- Shoulder pain and weakness
- Pain that is present at night when lying on the affected joint
- Pain when lowering and raising the arm, as well as rotating the arm
- A popping or cracking sensation when the arm is moved in certain positions